Baum School ‘Curiosities’
“Assembled Curiosities” at The Baum School of Art featured mixed media assemblages of Domenick Naccarato and photography by Lindsay Woodruff in the David E. Rodale Gallery, as well as their merged collection of random objects of inspiration in the Rodale Family Gallery.
The two Lehigh Valley artists, who were previously unacquainted, are avid collectors. They find a creative spark in mundane objects and fleeting moments of everyday life.
Domenick Naccarato’s “Nine Railroad Spikes Suspended Between Yellow and Green Textured Color Fields” (paint, plaster, stain, steel, bolts, wood, and railroad spikes; 41.5 in. x 33.5 in.) is of two weathered-looking wood panels vertically joined together with railroad spikes.
“Thirteen” (paint, stain, cutting knife, steel tie plate, hex bolts, and screws on wood; 20 in. x 14 in.) is a work that Naccarato “puzzled together” with wood and rusty hardware A number 13 is painted on it.
Many of the gnarly-looking elements like wood with cracked paint and rusty hardware were made with new materials. The artist applied plaster and paint to create the illusion of weathering on each part. Metal objects were dipped in muriatic acid, then treated with a mixture of salt, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to induce rust.
Naccarato regularly finds inspiration on his way to work for a software company.
“I would be driving down the Northeast Extension [of the Pennsylvania Turnpike], sitting behind a big semi tractor-trailer. The nuances of the dirt, the markings, or the numbers and serial numbers on the back of that truck would catch my eye,” said Naccarato. He would capture these encounters with his smartphone.
Lindsay Woodruff shoots digital photographs whenever opportunity allows.
“Yellow and Black Chevron” (archival pigment print; 15 in. x 11 in.) is part of a series of weather-beaten railroad car images taken during a family trip to the Phillipsburg Railroad Historians Museum, Phillipsburg, N.J.
Seasonally devoid of foliage, backyard trees and other vegetation are covered with snow in “Overgrowth” (archival pigment print; 13 in. x 19 in.). Woodruff shot this during a weather delay for Moravian Academy where she teaches photography.
“I consider myself an intermedia artist,” said Woodruff, who also works with film and is a painter.
Naccarato and Woodruff brought along their commonplace artifacts for display in the “wunderkammer” or “wonder cabinet” set up in the Rodale Family Gallery. Historically, the wealthy would hide their treasures in these “cabinets of curiosity,” according to the artists. Only a select few would be invited to view them. The “treasures” Naccarato and Woodruff put on public display possess little or no monetary value.
“It goes all the way back to my grandmother when I used to go up into her attic,” said Woodruff. The various objects, buttons and vintage costume jewelry she found there as a child fascinated her. Woodruff’s mélange includes an old pair of scissors, a photo of an oil drum with bullet holes, experiments on photographic paper and a blue desk with flecks of gold paint that “honor the imperfect.”
Said Woodruff, “To me, it’s a visual lexicon. It’s like an alphabet.”
Naccarato’s collection contained bits of wood, gears, bolts, hooks, tools, large hinges, and machinery parts.
Items supplied by both collectors were neatly arranged on a long table that bridged the separate halves of the room-sized “cabinet of curiosity.”
The exhibit, sponsored by Janet and Malcolm Gross, concluded Jan. 31.